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Prevention & Management of Sports Injuries

There is a saying in the sports world that “Injury is just part of the game, but not injury prevention”. In other words, injury is seen as an inevitable consequence of participation in sports.

For a professional sports person an injury could be from a simple hurdle spoiling a single session to career threatening which will have massive impact on his personal, social psychological, economical and professional aspects of life. in the modern sports world it is believed and proved that, multidisciplinary team of Athlete, Coach, Psychologist, Physician, Trainer, Nutritionist and Sports Physio can together make the injury prevention as part of a game.

Participation in sports, places the individual athlete in a situation in which injury is likely to occur. Prevention of sports injuries demands a thorough understanding of the causes of the injuries. At times injury appears to be very obvious, such as a direct kick on the shin causing a shin bone fracture i.e. acute episode of trauma or repeated episodes of micro trauma resulting in overuse syndromes for which examples include such as tennis elbow, supraspinatus tendinitis (shoulder pain) etc.

Because the causes of sports injuries are often complex, more complex models have been developed to describe the multicausal relationships that also take into consideration the chain of events that result in an injury. The major causes for occurrence of sports injuries are either due to intrinsic or extrinsic factors. To be able to both prevent injuries and enhance athletic performance, the coach and athlete must understand and be able to identify or the causes. This is particularly true of overuse injuries which often recur if the athlete is unable to modify the loading pattern.

Intrinsic factors or athlete related factors are concerned with the makeup of the individual person which include age, sex, muscular imbalances, joint mobility or flexibility, mal-alignment or posture. Preparation and training after some of these constituents, which should always be considered in the management of individual people.

Extrinsic factors in injury are those derived from the external forces. Examples include the training methods, surface being trained, environmental conditions and the equipment used. Extrinsic factors affect the athlete from outside environment, where training in high value and increased intensity, sudden changes in training method, poorly designed training techniques, ineffective rules of the sport, violent play, ill timed contact etc.

Some of the examples include letting play team hand ball on flooring where the friction is too high or too low, playing soccer on an uneven grassy surface, sudden change of running from grassy surface to synthetic track. Running with old or unsuitable or worn out shoes results in stress injuries, as the research says that 50% of the shock absorbency is lost after running for 500 miles, which is equivalent to about a month’s training for a marathon runner. Practising in cold weather without adequate warm up leads to reduced elasticity and stiffness of muscles. At the same time hot and humid weather may cause heat stroke. While competing light is one another important factor for prevention of the injuries.

MANAGEMENT OF ACUTE INJURY:

SYMPTOMS OF INJURY: Pain, swelling, redness, functional immobility (inability to move the injured part)

FIRST AID MEASURES:
RICE PROTOCOL:
  • Rest to the injured part. Ice application for about 12-15mins every 2hrs. Ice should not be applied for more than 15mins and direct application should be avoided.
  • Pain relief management – pharmological and non pharmological
  • Prevention of bleeding
  • Compression by appropriate brace.
  • Elevation of injured part to reduce swelling
  • Specialist consultation.
  • Proper rehabilitation

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